Iraq Says Five Killed in Renewed Anti-government Demonstrations

Since the start of the protests Tuesday, security forces have responded with live ammunition and tear gas, killing at least 65 people

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Iraqi protesters take part in a demonstration in Baghdad on October 4, 2019.
Iraqi protesters take part in a demonstration in Baghdad on October 4, 2019. Credit: AFP

Iraqi officials say five people have been killed and 13 injured as security forces fired on anti-government protesters to disperse renewed demonstrations in the capital Baghdad.

The protests Saturday come after a two-day around-the-clock curfew has been lifted. They also come as Iraqi religious leaders appealed for calm and while politicians scramble to contain the unprecedented popular expression of anger.

Officials say Saturday at least 22 protesters were killed in the previous day's clashes between thousands of protesters and security forces. It was the deadliest day of violence so far in the capital, and brings the national death toll since the unrest erupted Tuesday to 64.

Health and police officials said a protester was killed in Zafaraniya in south Baghdad, and 13 were injured. In central Baghdad, four protesters were killed. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to brief reporters.

The spontaneous rallies are the most serious challenge since the defeat of the Islamic State two years ago. The protesters want jobs, and an end to corruption in the oil-rich country.

Security remains heavily deployed but streets and main squares are open to traffic after curfew was lifted at 5 A.M. local time. Municipal workers were clearing the streets of the bullets and debris left behind by the latest confrontations.